Georgetown, Guyana – (June 21, 2017) The Government of Guyana, in a tangible demonstration of its commitment to strengthen STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education delivery, today presented $1M cheques to 13 secondary schools under the National Endowment for Science and Technology (NEST) programme.
The schools are: Queen’s College, Bishops High School, St. Roses High School, St. Joseph’s High School and the St. Stanislaus College from Georgetown; Anna Regina Multilateral School from the Pomeroon-Supenaam Region; Zeeburg Secondary School and the Saraswati Vidya Niketan (SVN) Hindu School on the West Coast of Demerara; President’s College on the East Coast of Demerara, Rosignol Secondary School in West Coast, Berbice; Berbice High School in East Berbice-Corentyne, Three-Miles Secondary School in Bartica and the Mackenzie High School in Linden.
Addressing Head Teachers and students of the beneficiary schools, who attended the ceremony at State House, President David Granger said that this first official disbursement of funds is an expression of the confidence that the Government of Guyana vests in them. “This is not a side show. This is essential to the development of our country… I do believe that apart from having a stable home, having food, clothing and shelter, the most important thing that adults can give to their children is a sound education. There’s nothing that you can achieve that is worthwhile in life without a good education,” he said.
Over the past several months, the Head of State has been actively promoting STEM education and encouraging students and teachers to pay more attention to the four STEM subjects, which will help young people to become innovative and equip them with the necessary skills to contribute to the development of the country. “We need arts and humanity, but we also need science and technology and what I ask is that we give a special encouragement to children, who are gifted in science and technology, we give special facilities to schools and provide the resources for children to enter the field of science and technology,” he said.
The President explained that once those facilities and opportunities are made available, more children will be drawn to these areas of study. “This is an important aspect of Government policy. It is the future of Guyana and we are putting money to encourage more children to go into science and technology so that they will see that they can get a rewarding life,” he said.
The NEST programme has its genesis in the presentation of $1M cheques to several schools last year, including SVN, Berbice High School, Queen’s College and President’s College to improve computer and science laboratories, as part of the Head of State’s push to promote innovation through investment in the subject area.
Head teacher of Queen’s College, Ms. Jackie Ralph said that her school pays particular emphasis on science and technology because they are intrinsically linked to the country’s development. “As the leading secondary institution, we believe that we must set the trends, so we have been creating an environment where our students are exposed to the highest level of science and technology education.”
She added that the school has also established a ‘Sci-Tech’ club, which will benefit from the NEST programme so that students can start building their own computers. “I think that this is a very good initiative. It will work exceedingly well in the schools that were selected,” Ms. Ralph said.
Head Teacher of the Anna Regina Multilateral School, Mr. Laljeet Rooplall expressed his gratitude to the Government of Guyana, which he said will go a far way in boosting the school’s laboratories. “We have the chemistry, physics, biology and two IT [Information Technology] labs. This will strengthen these labs and that will enhance performance significantly, which we are hoping for,” he said
This year, the education sector received a budgetary allocation of $43.1B, which translates to 17.2 percent of the overall national budget. Minister responsible for Education, Ms. Nicolette Henry was also present at today’s ceremony.